Monthly Archives: September 2015

Over 60 percent of urban Indian women vulnerable to heart disease

heart-main Over 60 percent of women in urban India are at risk of heart diseases, said a study released on Monday. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Over 60 percent of women in urban India are at risk of heart diseases, said a study released on Monday.

Owing to changes in lifestyle and food habits, over 60 percent of women in the age group of 30 to 45 years are vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), said the Saffolalife study 2015, released a day ahead of the World Heart Day.

The study, conducted in top 10 Indian cities, analysed risk factors causing heart diseases in around 1,299 urban Indian females in this age group. (See pics: Five superfoods to boost your cardiac health)

It said 74 percent women who are at risk of CVDs also have increased belly fat/broad waistline.

Shedding light on food habits, the survey revealed that 30 percent of women who face the risk of developing CVDs have late dinners (post 10 p.m.).

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“Changing food habits and unhealthy food choices, such as increased intake of food like cheese, food rich in transfats and late dinners are leading to increased abdominal obesity and increased waist-to-hip ratio, a major risk factor for heart diseases,” said Kunal Sarkar, senior consultant cardiac surgeon, Medica Superspecialty Hospital, in the study. (Also read: Sitting for long time as dangerous for heart as smoking)

“In addition, smoking, low levels of physical activity, diabetes, high BP and other lifestyle factors are responsible for fat redistribution in women while accelerating their risk of CVDs,” added.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/over-60-percent-of-urban-indian-women-vulnerable-to-heart-disease/

World Heart Day: WHO calls for reducing heart disease in women

heart-attack-main The World Health Organization on Monday called on all countries to try and reduce heart disease in women.

The World Health Organization on Monday called on all countries to try and reduce heart disease in women.

Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke, are the world’s number one killers, claiming 17.5 million lives a year globally. (In Pictures: Five superfoods to boost your cardiac health)

In the southeast Asia region, cardiovascular diseases cause an estimated 3.7 million deaths annually, one fourth of all deaths, while one third of these deaths from cardiovascular diseases are premature and occurs among those aged less than 70 years, the WHO said in a statement on the eve of the World Heart Day on Tuesday. (Also read: Sitting for long time as dangerous for heart as smoking)

It called on countries to take action to reduce heart disease in women.

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“Cardiovascular diseases are a major health problem among women and remain under-recognized and under-treated. Risk factors for heart disease in women mirror those in men and include lifestyle factors such as tobacco use, overweight and obesity, harmful alcohol use and physical inactivity, as well as physiological risk factors such as elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes mellitus,” it said.

heart attack, heart attack risk, patient, antacids, proton pump, heart attack risk, heart, health, drugs The majority of premature deaths due to cardiovascular disease can be prevented through simple measures such as consuming a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and by managing stress.

The world body said that in addition to this, in the southeast Asia region, exposure to household air pollution from using solid fuels for cooking substantially increases the risk of heart disease in women.

The majority of premature deaths due to cardiovascular disease can be prevented through simple measures such as consuming a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and by managing stress.

The theme for this World Heart Day – “Healthy heart choices for everyone, everywhere” – is a reminder “of the impact that our environments can have on our ability to make the best choice for a healthy heart”, it said.

The statement said that the WHO region for southeast Asia has set a target for reducing premature mortality from cardiovascular disease and other non-communicable diseases by 25 percent by 2025 and has developed a regional action plan to achieve this target.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/world-heart-day-who-calls-for-reducing-heart-disease-in-women/

Sitting for long time as dangerous for heart as smoking

sitting-main Sitting could be as bad as smoking. And if you are involved in a job that requires you to sit for a prolonged period of time, then beware, you may be prone to cardiac ailments. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Have you ever considered how much you sit during a day while driving to work in the morning or during the eight-hour-a-day desk job or later, back home, unwinding on the couch in front of the television until you have your supper and hit the sack?

Of course, not to mention the dependence on emails and cellphone apps which help you to get your work done without having to go to the spot. Advancement of technology — be it direct-deposit pay checks, online shopping and even the groceries that are now a click away — were unthinkable a decade or two back.

What we seem to have forgotten is that any time you get the blood pumping and moving, it stimulates organs to do things that are healthier.

A study quoted by a British newspaper states that for each hour a day that an adult spends sitting down during their lifetime, the likelihood of developing heart disease goes up by 14 percent.

Sitting could be as bad as smoking. And if you are involved in a job that requires you to sit for a prolonged period of time, then beware, you may be prone to cardiac ailments. In fact, inactivity is the fourth biggest killer of adults, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

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There have been several clinical records that have proved that sedentary lifestyle is detrimental to the human body. It results in obesity and has been cited as one of the main reasons for cancer as well. This is because a sedentary body goes into a storage mode and stops functioning as effectively as it should.

For women over 30 years of age, being a couch potato increases risk of heart-related problems as compared to those smoking or carrying extra weight. The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health conducted by University of Queensland has shown that sitting for hours and being inactive has been the main cause for cardiac issues among women.

Most often, people fail to realise that only daily gym sessions aren’t sufficient to undo the damage caused by sitting for several hours. Scientists from the Medical College of Wisconsin tracked levels of activity of 2,031 adults whose average age was 50. They compared the number of hours each participant spent sitting down each day with the levels of deposits in blood vessels that act as signal for heart disease.

When we sit for long periods of time, enzyme changes occur in our muscles that can lead to increased blood sugar levels. The effects happen very quickly and regular exercise won’t fully protect you.

Hence, it is recommended that you get up once an hour from your desk, even if it is just to walk around briefly or go to the bathroom. Some people have even started using treadmill desks at work — anything that contracts our muscles and gets blood flowing. It dampens down inflammation and cuts down the risk of depositing plaque in the coronary arteries.

While too much sitting is just as dangerous as smoking — and 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day is not enough to reverse the effects, the good news is that a mere five minutes of movement every hour prevents health dangers.

The moral: Take a walk during lunch or talking on the phone, take the stairs instead of the elevator and use a pedometer to track your daily steps. If you have a sedentary job, do not go home and sit in front of the TV for hours in the night.

(Rajat Arora is an Interventional Cardiologist and Medical Director at Yashoda Hospitals in Delhi. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at drrajat@yashodahospital.org)

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/sitting-for-long-time-as-dangerous-for-heart-as-smoking/

My Curious Case: An unpleasant surprise and a surgical challenge

Patient: A 55-year-old man with sudden onset of weakness on the right side of his face.

Diagnosis: A congenital disease called congenital extradural CP angle petrous apex cholesteatoma.

Notes: Timely intervention saved the patient’s life. It was drained in the first stage.

Doctor: Dr Samir Joshi, Professor and Head, ENT department, B J Government Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital, Pune

Life is a series of blind corners…it springs surprises at you every now and then. The field of medicine is no exception, but the surprises here are often life-threatening for the patient.

Ramdas (name changed) was a 55-year-old farmer with two young daughters. Six months ago, he experienced a sudden onset of weakness on the right side of his face.

When he was a child, he had suffered from purulent ear disease in his left ear.

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Apparently, the 55-year-old man did not notice that he had completely lost his ability to hear in the right ear, possibly because the problem was a long-standing one.

It had not been detected by cursorily-performed audiometry test without masking. He visited many places for his deviated face, but it was treated as a common viral illness, the ‘Bell’s palsy’.

But when his condition did not improve even after six months, he consulted doctors at the ENT department of the Sassoon government hospital in Pune.

A carefully conducted audiometry test revealed that he was completely deaf in his right ear and the subsequent CT scan showed a mass in Cerebello-pontine angle region inside the skull cavity.

This is a congenital mass which had remained inside his skull for a period of 54 years and was likely to have killed him sooner, rather than later.

After a subsequent difficult surgery was performed on him, it was found to be a congenital disease called congenital extradural CP angle petrous apex cholesteatoma!

Cholesteatoma is an expansile lesion (very much like a tenant in your house who wants to ultimately dislodge the real owner). It causes bone erosion as well as affects important structures in the proximity by mass effect leading to serious complications. Surgery remains the definitive treatment of petrous apex cholesteatoma.

Because of the location of petrous apex and proximity of vital structures, the surgery of petrous apex cholesteatoma becomes a surgical challenge. When it starts to get infected or bursts open the dura – that is the covering of the brain — it can spell doom for the patient.

But in this case, timely intervention saved the patient’s life. It was drained in the first stage and in the second stage, a facial reanimation surgery was planned for him.

It is often said that experience is more important than mere bookish knowledge. It is most applicable to doctors and this has been my most curious case.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/my-curious-case-an-unpleasant-surprise-and-a-surgical-challenge/

Diet diary: The not so well-known ‘destroyer’ of blood sugar

Gurmar Powder Gurmar Powder

Nature has its own ways of balancing. While India is topping the charts, housing the maximum number of diabetics in the world, it can also boast of having myriad natural solutions and antidotes to fight blood sugar levels.

One of the lesser-known ones is Gymnema Sylvestre, commonly known as ‘Gurmar’ or Madhunashini. ‘Gurmar’ has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries and was first used to treat diabetes almost 2,000 years ago.

The word Gymnema is derived from the Hindi word ‘Gurmar’, which means ‘’destroyer of sugar’’. This tropical and woody vine-like climbing plant is native to India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Africa and Australia. The medicinally active parts of the plant are its leaves and roots. Its healing and health-promoting properties have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and herbal medicinal preparations.

The leading active compounds in Gymnema are gymnemic acids and gurmarin found in its leaves. They possess anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory activities. It is known to have antimicrobial, cholesterol-lowering, liver-protective, laxative, anti-cancer and diuretic effects. Its benefits have also been documented in Ayurvedic texts for asthma, dental caries, stomach ailments, constipation, hemorrhoids and water retention.

A recent study in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine evaluated the effect of Gymnema Sylvestre on the blood sugar and cholesterol levels of 32 human subjects with type-2 diabetes mellitus. It was seen that daily administration of it for about six months significantly reduced their blood sugar levels and glycosylated hemoglobin levels. Several studies have confirmed Gymnema’s traditionally-known actions and therapeutic uses including its remarkable anti-diabetic benefits for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Interestingly, it has been reported to help curb sweet cravings. Gymnema is available in various anti-diabetic herbal preparations. It can also be consumed as a simple herbal tea, or a liquid or as a capsule, though its preparation in the form of fresh tea leaves may be most effective.

It is best to seek professional help from an experienced practitioner of Ayurveda to incorporate Gurmar as a therapeutic agent, but do inform your medical practitioner. It is not recommended during pregnancy, lactation and should not be given to infants and those with low blood pressure and low blood sugar levels.

Author is a clinical nutritionist and founder of http://www.theweightmonitor.com and Whole Foods India

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/diet-diary-the-not-so-well-known-destroyer-of-blood-sugar/

Chronic diseases linked to higher Dementia risk

dementia-main The findings emphasise that chronic diseases, once diagnosed, should be efficiently managed.

Higher the number of chronic conditions you are having, greater could be your risk of developing Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or Dementia, suggests a new study.

The findings suggest that preventing chronic diseases may help ageing adults maintain their mental health.

The researchers assessed 2,176 cognitively normal participants who were in an average age of 78.5 years and were followed for a median of four years.

Participants with more than one chronic condition were 38 percent more likely to develop MCI/Dementia.

Participants with four or more conditions had a 61 percent increased risk compared with those with no chronic condition or just one such condition.

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“We were not able to investigate the specific mechanisms by which multi-morbidity contributes to cognitive impairment,” said Senior Author of the study Rosebud Roberts from Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, Minnesota, US.

“However our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that multiple etiologies may contribute to late-life cognitive decline and thus emphasize the importance of prevention,” she said.

“They also emphasise that chronic diseases, once diagnosed, should be efficiently managed,” Roberts noted.

The study appeared in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/chronic-diseases-linked-to-higher-dementia-risk/

Kidney stones may put kids at heart disease risk

kidney-stone-main If kidney stones are putting children at risk for serious cardiovascular problems as adults, we need to intervene and make a difference in their future health, the authors concluded.

Kidney stones in children are not an isolated medical problem, claim researchers, suggesting that there is a clear link between kidney stones in children and thickened or hardened arteries- precursors to a wide variety of cardiovascular diseases.

Previous research has established a connection between kidney stones and Atherosclerosis in adults but this study is the first to identify a significant association between the two health concerns in children.

“If the processes of kidney stone formation and hardening of the arteries are somehow linked in adults, it makes sense that a similar link may exist in children, despite the fact that people don’t associate heart and vascular diseases with kids,” explained Kirsten Kusumi, Nephrology Fellow at Ohio-based Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

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The team used ultrasound exams to evaluate and compare the thickness of key arteries for 15 children with kidney stones and 15 children without them.

Dr Kusumi and her collaborators detected a significant increase in the thickness of the right Carotid artery and average artery thickness- potential risk factors for cardiovascular complications or disease- in children with a recent kidney stone.

“Our findings suggest that there is something going on in the body related to kidney stone formation that also impacts the health of children’s arteries,” noted Dr Kusumi.

“Now that we have a clear indication, we can take steps as clinicians to treat these vascular symptoms or implement preventive measures, such as exercise and diet programmes,” Dr Kusumi advised.

The researchers have not yet defined the exact mechanism that connects kidney stones to vascular hardening, but they hypothesise that inflammation may play an important role.

The team screened the urine of participants for different bio-markers.

In the urine of children with arterial abnormalities, key inflammatory markers appeared at higher levels.

“It could be that different types of kidney stones have different causes and even different risk factors,” added Andrew Schwaderer, Research Director of Nephrology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

If kidney stones are putting children at risk for serious cardiovascular problems as adults, we need to intervene and make a difference in their future health, the authors concluded in a study published in the Journal of Paediatrics.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/kidney-stones-may-put-kids-at-heart-disease-risk/

Researchers find new way to combat brain cancer

M_Id_401779_cancer People with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) often live fewer than 15 months following diagnosis because, despite surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, individual cancer cells escape and invade healthy surrounding tissue.

Activating a specific family of proteins may stop the spread of the most lethal and aggressive brain cancer Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), new research has found.

GBM is the most common brain tumour in adults and people with GBM often live fewer than 15 months following diagnosis because, despite surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, individual cancer cells escape and invade healthy surrounding tissue, making additional treatment attempts increasingly difficult.

“New therapies for GBM are desperately needed,” said Corresponding Author on the study Kathryn Eisenmann, Assistant Professor at University of Toledo Health Science Campus in Ohio, US.

“We hope our latest finding will lead to a novel and effective treatment for this extremely aggressive cancer,” Eisenmann noted.

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The study expands upon an earlier discovery of a bioactive peptide called DAD (Diaphanous Autoregulatory Domain) and small molecules called Intramimics.

Both DAD and Intramimics activate a family of proteins called DIAPHs or mDIA, which are known to play vital roles in GBM spread.

The new study found that locking DIAPH into an “on” state using DAD, Intramimics stops GBM cells from invading normal brain tissue.

The researchers hope to soon evaluate the effectiveness of this new strategy in preclinical models, a crucial step in translating this discovery to the clinic and patients.

“GBM is lethal because it so effectively escapes and evades therapy,” Eisenmann said.

“Our hope is this discovery will prove to be an anti-tumour strategy and one that will be safe and effective for patients,” Eisenmann noted.

The study was published online in the journal Molecular Biology of the Cell.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/researchers-find-new-way-to-combat-brain-cancer/

Why you need to exercise more than your parents did

Certain types of weight-lifting and jumping exercises, when performed for at least six months, may reverse age-related bone loss in middle-aged men (Source: Thinkstock Images) If you are around 25 years of age and struggling with weight gain, you would have to eat even less and exercise more than your parents did, suggests new research. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

If you are around 25 years of age and struggling with weight gain, you would have to eat even less and exercise more than your parents did, suggests new research.

The findings suggest that the older people had it easier- they could eat more and exercise less, and still avoid obesity.

This could be due to the fact that our body weight is impacted by our changing lifestyle and environment.

“However, it also indicates there may be other specific changes contributing to the rise in obesity beyond just diet and exercise,” said Jennifer Kuk from York University in Toronto, Canada.

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The research analysed dietary data of nearly 36,400 US adults collected by the US National Health and Nutrition Survey between 1971 and 2008.

The available physical activity frequency data, of 14,419 adults in the 1988 to 2006 period was also used.

“We observed that for a given amount of self-reported food intake, people will be about 10 percent heavier in 2008 than in 1971,” Lead Researcher Ruth Brown from York University noted.

The researchers also found that for a given amount of physical activity level, people were about five percent heavier in 2006 than in 1988.

“These secular changes may in part explain why we have seen the dramatic rise in obesity,” Brown noted.

Our body weight is impacted by our lifestyle and environment, such as medication use, environmental pollutants, genetics, timing of food intake, stress, gut bacteria and even nighttime light exposure, Kuk explained.

“Ultimately, maintaining a healthy body weight is now more challenging than ever,” Kuk said.

The findings will be featured in the upcoming issue of the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/why-you-need-to-exercise-more-than-your-parents-did/

Gut Symmetries: Are we what we eat?

Enders’ book investigates the effect that things we ingest have on us  Enders’ book investigates the effect that things we ingest have on us

Gut, the German doctor Giulia Enders’ bestseller about the gastro-intestinal system, will do well in India, a nation that is deeply constipated in more than one sense. But for those of us who do not regard the abdomen as the essential seat of human welfare, it gets really interesting in the latter half, where she investigates the effect that things we ingest have on us.

The point of departure from gastroenterology to the Wild West of interactive biology is Toxoplasma, standard flora in the intestines of cats, which hitches rides on cat lovers and other mammals in order to reach other cats. Enders recounts the experiment of Joanne P Webster at Oxford, in which she demonstrated that rats exposed to toxoplasma lost all fear of cats and gambolled in places marked by cat urine, which uninfected rats flee on instinct. The question that arises is, once ingested, does Toxoplasma screw with the heads of rats, and urge them to lay down their lives in its service? In that case, are the higher mammals also influenced by what they eat? The very highest? Are we what we eat, and could our inexplicable psychoses be food-related?

That question has obsessed religion and popular culture from the dawn of time. Nectar and ambrosia brim over in the oldest stories, and the apple is really the central character in the Garden of Eden, not the rash mortal who eats it. In modern literature, the idea of food as an influencer of human minds was rekindled by Gunter Grass in The Flounder, which opens with the simplest of dishes: a few jacket potatoes roasting in embers in a Kashubian field, cooking slowly as the reader and the first character wait for the story to begin. Four years after it appeared in 1977, Salman Rushdie harnessed the device to give the Western readership a taste of the soul of a masala nation, obsessed with food and its instrumentality in human affairs. Midnight’s Children relied on pickles and chutneys as much as political and social history in its depiction of the Partition generation.

Anglo-American publishing is taxonomy-driven and has followed this tradition only erratically. It seems to believe strongly in the division between cookbooks and other books. But there have been fairly glorious departures from the norm, like John Lanchester’s The Debt to Pleasure, in which the journalist and food writer ventured boldly forth into a dark, food-laden tour of France.

Last year, a fine account of food in English literature appeared in the US. In Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals, designer, photographer and classic reader Dinah Fried took food photography far beyond the stock image of the still life with moodily lit cantaloupe. Her book is a collection of 50 almost edible top shots picturing the most famous meals in books. Sadly, the images do not seem to include Enid Blyton’s buttered scones and the stuff on the Hogwarts Express trolley, which English readers encounter long before they read of the Last Supper. The element of surprise is served well by the dish of thin gruel that was presented to Oliver Twist, in reaction to which he famously asked for more. There is also the Swiss toasted sandwich and glass of malted in which Holden Caulfield drowned his sorrows. And there are the makings of the Mad Hatter’s timeless tea party, a very spare table setting compared to the positively sybaritic splendour inspired by The Great Gatsby.

Unfortunately, the book never came to Indian stores but a few spreads can be salivated over at fictitiousdishes.com. And hopefully, the next edition will include some of the most striking meals from popular literature. Not a Hannibal Lecter dinner, the first thing that springs to mind. Not the Last Supper either, that was done to death in the Renaissance. But maybe the bizarre scene in the essay ‘The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved’, in the Louisville restaurant where Hunter S Thompson met his brother and sister-in-law for dinner along with the twisted artist Ralph Steadman. What did the waiter serve just before the father of gonzo maced him? And how had Steadman rendered the sister-in-law’s portrait just before that, causing her enraged husband to offer the artist grievous bodily harm, triggering the preemtive macing which turned the waiter into collateral damage? The annals of gonzo do not disclose the details of this scene. Reconstructive photography could be the only way to recapture the moment in all its randomly murderous energy.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/gut-symmetries-are-we-what-we-eat/